CURRY – Justin Lay of Curry is a junior at Jasper High School, and he loves hunting. This activity comes easy for most young people, but it was a little harder for Lay until he found the right equipment.
The reason hunting is more difficult for Lay is because something happened when he was still an infant. The veins in his brain were bunched tightly together. This defect caused increased pressure and resulted in a severe brain bleed on the left side of his brain when he was 4-years-old.
“I’m not paralyzed, but I don’t have much strength on the right side of my body,” Lay said. The youth hasn’t let the condition slow him down.
“When I’m doing a thing, I like to figure it out on my own without anyone helping me,” he said.
Lay has worked at Pat’s Archery & Outdoors in Jasper for a year. His grandparents are Judy and Pat Patton also from Curry. Lay first went hunting with Patton about 10 years ago, and he fell in love with the pastime.
“The sight of a deer still makes me jittery,” Lay said.
In the past, Lay used a chair with a tripod to stabilize the crossbow he used for hunting. Once cocked, he shot the crossbow with his left hand.
Then about three months ago, a man came into the archery shop who had a problem with his right arm, too. “He couldn’t use his right arm, either,” Lay said. But the man used a special tab that allowed him to pull back the strings of a compound bow with his teeth.
The hunter described the device to Jake Williams and others who work at the archery store.
When Lay learned about the device, he had to have one of his own. He managed to get his hands on one of the tabs. The device worked like a charm. It’s like a small leash that Lay can hold with his teeth and allows him to pull back the string of a regular compound bow.
To demonstrate how the device worked, Lay placed the tab on a 50-pound compound bow. This means that it takes 50 pounds of pressure to pull the bowstring back.
Most hunters pull the string back with the fingers of their dominant hand. Lay holds the bow with his left hand and pulls the string back with his teeth. “I have strong teeth,” he said.
When asked if he is accurate with his bow, he said that he had killed two deer so far this year.
At Jasper High, Lay’s best subjects are math and science, but he also loves world history. Looking to the future, Lay wants to pursue a career as a financial advisor, but he will always make time for hunting.